A full 282 minutes of game time have passed since the Yale field hockey team last found the back of the net. The Bulldogs, outscored by opponents 26–2 since their last win over Bryant on Sept. 18, remain mired in a seven-game losing streak despite strong defensive performances in a pair of losses this past weekend.
After failing to score in its last four matchups, Yale (2–9, 0–3 Ivy) will need to show improvement offensively when it hosts Dartmouth (4–7, 0–3) on Saturday. With that in mind, leading Eli scorer Carol Middough ’18 likes what she has seen this week in practice.
“We’ve been working on offense in practice a lot,” Middough said. “Things are finally starting to click for us on the offensive line, so we’re excited to come out on Saturday and showcase all the work we’ve put in recently.”
Dartmouth, like Yale, visits New Haven without a conference win and hopes to enter the win column this weekend. Unlike Yale, however, the Big Green has shown numerous signs of offensive firepower throughout the year, boasting an 8–1 thrashing of Sacred Heart, a team that Yale beat just 2–1 in its season opener, and a 5–2 rout of Providence earlier in the season.
Dartmouth’s offense is spearheaded by a trio of dangerous attackers: seniors Rebecca Hu and Eliza Becker, and star freshman Julia Donald. In her first 11 collegiate games, Donald has generated 19 points for the Big Green, good for a tie with Hu for most on the team.
“[Dartmouth] is a well-coached team, they’re scrappy and they work hard,” goalkeeper Emilie Katz ’17 said. “They have a strong attack and they’ve won a few games by big margins.”
Donald and Hu have buried nine and eight goals, respectively, while Becker is Dartmouth’s field general. She has notched 10 assists for Dartmouth.
But against an offense-heavy Big Green squad, Yale’s overall approach to the upcoming contest remains unchanged.
“We will stick to our game plan and continue to work hard in practice this week,” Katz said. “If we continue to do that, we will get the outcome we want.”
Katz and the Bulldogs’ defensive unit look strong heading into the weekend after a challenging pair of games this past Saturday and Sunday. The junior netminder earned a spot on the weekly Ivy League Honor Roll after allowing a single goal to Cornell on Saturday and then saving 20 of 22 shots on net against then-No. 6 Albany a day later.
However, against a Dartmouth team that ranks fourth in the Ivy League with 2.71 goals per game — more than three times Yale’s average of 0.69 — captain and defender Noelle Villa ’16 stressed that another strong defensive performance will be key on Saturday.
“We focus on our fundamental and individual defense every practice, but we also maintain a good sense of how those fundamentals fit in the big picture across the field,” Villa said. “Moving as a unit is crucial, and that takes solid game sense and high communication.”
Villa also noted that such cohesion would help the Bulldogs have more success on the offensive side of the ball.
Yale will need to protect the ball, Villa said, and be more efficient with its attack in order to emerge from the bottom of the Ivy standings.
“We’re on the right track and have been working hard to build the counterattack,” Villa said. “Now we just need to capitalize on our opportunities in the circle.”
Yale will play Dartmouth at noon on Saturday.